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Emergency financial assistance in Kern County.

Emergency financial assistance is provided by the Kern County Department of Human Services. A variety of basic needs can be met by the government organization. Some cash assistance may be offered directly by Kern County, and sometimes families may be referred to other non-profit agencies or government programs.

The California State General Assistance service is run by each individual County, including Kern County. It is a financial assistance program of last resort, so can only be used when individuals have no other options available to them. Persons who can apply for services are the working poor and indigent who are not eligible for any other non-profit or government financial assistance program.

Utility bills and rent payments from General Assistance program will be paid directly as vendor payments to the person or company you owe the money to. This means that cash assistance will be made directly to the utility company or landlord rather than to the Kern County family. Additionally, vouchers for incidental expenses are issued for other basic needs too.

Interim financial assistance may be paid for qualified disabled persons as well who are applicants for SSI/SSP. When the SSI/SSP award is made the county is reimbursed for this type of assistance.

The Food Stamp program is also administered by Kern County Department of Human Services. The main goal is to help people pay for groceries and meals, and a key being providing healthy foods. Vouchers are distributed that can help people buy more fruits, breads and vegetables year round for their family. Ideally no individual or their family should go hungry.

Health care services are provided by the Health Net and Kern Family Healthcare. Both of these are based on the state of California’s Medi-Cal program. The county may pay for health care services and medical bills for qualified patients, and health care assistance is provided to qualifying families and individuals who live in the county and who fall within certain income levels as determined by program terms. The two Health Plans make available primary care physicians, hospitals, specialists, and other doctors and medical professionals to help meet a family's health care needs.




A number of conditions need to be met in order to qualify for help. You and/or your family may qualify for participation in the Health Net and Kern Family Healthcare programs. Even if you are currently working, own a car, own a house, if you are married, or if you are not a U.S. Citizen, you may be eligible for health care benefits and financial assistance.

The key parameter is income, and people may be able to qualify for free Medi-Cal health coverage if their income is within certain limits. However residents may even be able to qualify for certain types of Medi-Cal health insurance coverage even if their total household income is above the program limits.This means applicants of the Kern Health program would have to pay a certain amount (deductible) before Medi-Cal would cover.

Medi-Cal offers a large number of benefits and savings to program participants. They include access to a comprehensive program of health services, including assistance with Dental, Medical and Vision benefits. Specifically, get help with prescriptions for non Medicare recipients, Inpatient/outpatient, dental care, vision and eye care, and more. Even if you do not qualify for the full scope of benefits from Kern County you may still qualify for a limited scope of coverage that includes: pregnancy related services, Long Term Care, and emergency services.

Receive housing and/or rent assistance from Housing Authority of the County of Kern. This is an independent, local government agency that runs special programs that may be able to help senior citizens, families, individuals, Veterans, the disabled, emancipated foster youth, homeless persons, and farm workers.

The main goal of this Kern County agency is to provide affordable yet safe housing and apartments to residents. The Housing Authority serves thousands of people every year with programs including section 8 housing, tenant based vouchers, and more. They also partner with other local non-profit agencies and charity organizations to help residents become self-sufficient over the mid to long term. This is done from the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

Case managers and social workers will work one on one with Low Income Public Housing participants as well as Section 8 participants as part of the Kern County Family Self-Sufficiency Program. This will offer them counseling, information on resources such as credit counseling and debt reduction and can otherwise help people become self-sufficient. Referrals are made for employment or educational training in the community. This Program is coordinated in collaboration with the CalWORKs, Employment Development Department, Employers’ Training Resource, the Regional Occupational Center, and other supportive services in Kern County California.





In addition, the Housing Authority of the County of Kern can coordinate referrals to training opportunities, job training and education, life skills and soft skill classes, job search assistance, job leads, and employment counseling. Also get referrals to social service agencies and government assistance for various needs.

The Kern County Department of Human Services locations are as follows.

  • Main office, 100 E. California Avenue, Bakersfield, California 93307, telephone number 661-631-6807
  • Delano, 1816 Cecil Ave, Delano, CA 93215, call 661-721-5134
  • Kern Medical Center, 1830 Flower Street, Bakersfield, CA 93305, 661-326-2840
  • Kinship Center, 3041 Wilson Road, Bakersfield, California 93304, phone 661-868-8800

By Jon McNamara

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